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THE BURNS UNIT Side Show (2010)

The Burns Unit

Taking their name with a clever pun referencing the revered Scottish bard Robert 'Rabbie' Burns, The Burns Unit is an eight piece Scottish - Canadian 'super group' including amongst their number Emma Pollock (The Delgados and Mercury prize nominee) and award winning folk singer songwriter Karine Polwart.,

Produced by drummer Mattie Foulds, mixed by Paul Savage (Franz Ferdinand) and mastered by Jon Astley (Tears For Fears, The Who, Norah Jones) Side Show is an intimate and eclectic affair. With no less than six lead vocalists it's nevertheless a seamless and totally absorbing collaboration featuring elements of folk, rock, synth, cabaret, dub and much, much more

It's a combination that shouldn't really work, but it's clearly been a labour of love with no egos on display and a mutual admiration stemming from a meeting at Burnsong - a week long song writing retreat held in Scotland in 2006.

If ever there was a case of the whole being larger than the sum of the parts, The Burns Unit is it. A mish mash of personalities and styles with each song co-written by at least 2 members of the band, Side Show is an album that reveals its facets like the petals of a rose.

While it's equally an easy listen, its depths are only revealed with considered and repeated listens. Serious song writing. File next to the most recent work of Natalie Merchant.


Review by Pete Whalley


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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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